Independent Power - Off The Grid Computing
My career has been in the fields of electronics and computing. Usually working as a programmer. I was an early adopter of Java (a development language), and have been working Java now for about 11 years (About the same time we moved here.). So as you can imagine, my biggest concern about living off the grid was having adequate power, and whether my computers and other electronic equipment would function properly. I've had servers here running 24/7, so reliability was and still is a must.
I was also a musician for many years and so I was really interested to see whether recording equipment would operate properly, and quietly. The results have been surprising, and I'll share with you what I've learned
First let me point out that the most critical piece of equipment you need after a good generator is a good inverter. An inverter with a built in charger circuit will charge batteries from your generator, and after charging will turn the DC power in your batteries back in to 120V AC current like you use in your house. Unless you have a unique situation where power needs are minimal, try to get at least a 3,000 watt unit. There are cost savings and a more rugged design for larger inverters. Then the path to solar power and complete self sufficiency is very straight forward. Just add panels and batteries until the generator is not needed except for emergencies.
There is almost always a trade off between reliability and technical sophistication. The more complex the equipment and the higher the parts count, the lower the reliability. With the advent of computers and better processing of silicon for transistors, and improved power devices like high power MOSFETs and microprocessors, inverters are far more reliable than they used to be. In the case of today's high quality inverters you can count on high reliability and excellent power quality.
This is important! Don't scrimp on the inverter! The equipment I'm describing here is commercial grade and there are many good brands. There are cheap inverters everywhere that are very low grade and not suited to run your home. Shop around, get a good deal, but don't be penny wise and pound foolish. Buy high quality. It's the cheapest way to go in the long run. I have links on this site for a few inverters that I think are very good.
Jet printers are very economical with power, but Laser printers and a few others can be power hungry. Take a look at power consumption, stand-by or idle power consumption is the most critical.
There are at least two different direct to satellite ISP services that allow you high speed internet service without a phone line. Life has never been better for computer people to work off the grid. You can live anywhere, and still be in touch and productive.
After 11 years I can truthfully say that living out here has been wonderful. Smog-free, quiet, with space all around us. I'm grateful for our blessings. I hope more people will be able to do what we've done and enjoy the benefits the way we have.
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